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UN Radio: Asian Ministers Meet to Tackle Bird Flu

UN Radio: Asian Ministers Meet in Thailand to Tackle Flu

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  • Special Report: UN Agencies Call For International Assistance to Stem the Spread of Avian Influenza in Asia
  • Special Report: Palermo Protocol Aims to Reduce Abuse of Migrants by Criminal Groups
  • Asian Ministers Meet in Thailand to Tackle Flu

    Ministers from ten Asian countries hit by bird flu met in Bangkok, Thailand, today to tackle the disease that has killed at least ten people and resulted in the destruction of thousands of chickens in the region. The World Health Organization, WHO, has urged the affected countries to be honest about the risks their people face. In Geneva, the Head of WHO's Global Influenza Programme Dr. Klaus Stohr explained why it's important to develop the vaccine for the virus which has not yet been transmitted from people to people.

    "There is a long standing history and experience of developing and producing influenza vaccine. There is however little experience on the safety as well as the efficacy of the capacity the immune response of avian influenza virus in human, and therefore specific steps have to be taken."

    Dr. Stohr says it would take four to six months before significant amounts of vaccines can be produced once bird flu starts to spread among humans.

    Protocol Against Smuggling of Migrants Enters into Force

    The protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea entered into force today. The protocol provides new tools to strengthen the international community to counter transnational organized crime groups and the networks they use to smuggle people. The protocol supplements the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime which entered into force in September last year. Dimitri Vlassis with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime in Vienna.

    "The Convention has extensive provisions on the international cooperation measures such as in extradition, mutual legal assistance, law enforcement cooperation at the more operational level, exchange of information and so forth."

    The protocol also criminalizes the smuggling of migrants and those who practice it while recognizing that illegal migrants themselves are not criminals but often victims who need protection.

    UN Coordinator for Middle East Deplores Loss of Life in Gaza City

    The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Terje Roed Larsen has deplored today's killing of eleven Palestinians, including an eleven year old boy in Gaza City. Six people were injured when Israelis exchanged fire with militants. In a statement issued today, Mr. Larsen again urged the Israeli army to act in a manner that minimizes the risk to civilians in keeping with Israel's obligations under international law. He said such incidents can ultimately be prevented by the parties returning to the negotiating table and restarting the peace process. Mr. Larsen expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives.

    UN Official Meets Russian Authorities to Discuss Displaced People

    The Head of the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, Jan Egeland today began meetings with Russian authorities in Moscow to discuss the situation of displaced people. This follows his visit to the Caucuses. On Tuesday he traveled to Chechnya where he visited three sites, including a temporary accommodation centre for people who have returned from Ingushetia. He noted that a number of people are now returning from Ingushetia to Chechnya and pledged the readiness of the UN to assist in the settlement of the people. Mr. Egeland then traveled to Ingushetia where he discussed the issue of returns with President Murat Vyazikov. OCHA's spokesperson in Moscow is Victoria Zotikova.

    "Mr. Egeland emphasized that all returns from Ingushetia to Chechnya should be voluntary. President Vyazikov assured Mr. Egeland that involuntary returns would not occur and that no camps would be forcibly closed."

    Mr. Egeland will continue his meetings with Russian officials on Thursday before concluding his mission to the region.

    UN Mission in Afghanistan Condemns Suicide Attacks

    The UN Envoy, Jean Arnault, has condemned a spate of suicide attacks against the International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, in Afghanistan. In a statement issued today, he voiced shock and outrage at the attacks that took place on Tuesday and Wednesday in which a Canadian soldier was killed. He said the attackers hoped to undermine the momentum that the peace process has gathered in the wake of the adoption of the new constitution for Afghanistan.

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